Sutil to have seat fitting ahead of possible test

2013 F1 season

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Adrian Sutil could be on the verge of returning to Formula One as Force India confirm he will have a seat fitting for them next week.

Sutil is believed to be one of two drivers in contention for the final place on the F1 grid in 2013. Jules Bianchi, who tested for Force India in Jerez, is also in the running.

A team spokesperson said: “Adrian has had a seat-fit with the team this week.

“At this stage the test driving schedule for the Barcelona test is not finalised, but there is a possibility Adrian could be involved. The driving schedule will be communicated on Monday next week.”

Sutil drove for the team from 2008 to 2011, and in 2007 when it competed as Spyker. He was replaced by Nico Hulkenberg at the end of 2011. In January 2012 he was given a suspended jail sentence following an incident in a bar in Shanghai.

Paul di Resta will do some of the team’s workload at the Circuit de Catalunya. Simulator driver James Rossiter will not make a return for the team after his run in Jerez last week.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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75 comments on “Sutil to have seat fitting ahead of possible test”

  1. Boooooooo. I’m definitely on Team Bianchi.

    1. I think Force India are with team Bring-us-that-Medion-money.

    2. +2 and if Force India are all about “bring us that money,” does Bianchi not have any financial backing to bring to the team?

    3. -2 never seen anything special from bianchi

      1. @kinggp Ever seen anything special from Sutil?

        1. @shortstick1 admittedly not much, but monaco 2008, monza 2009 were up there. in an ideal world, i would put di resta and alguesuari in the force india’s

          1. @kinggp – Really? I think there’s better drivers out there than the two you have mentioned, and that is coming from a Scot who is a fan of Di Resta…

        2. Maybe he wasn’t special enough for a lot of people.. but he was a heck of a lot better than FI’s current #1 driver.. Paul Di Resta

    4. ************, I’m on Team Bianchi!
      Sutil had his chance, he throw it away. He’s a good and fast driver, but he spent one year without competing in any categorie and it will hurt him a lot.

      Force India is losing testing days doing this, whoever is the final driver.

  2. Well this is interesting… I thought Bianchi had it covered

    1. I’m increasingly wondering whether Force India are using Sutil as a kind of bargaining chip… By having him available they are saying to Ferrari we don’t need your boy Bianchi and if you don’t give us a really good deal on engines for 2014 we WON’T be taking him. For that reason I think it’s impossible to read which way this one will go.

      Either way I think it’s quite obvious that Force India have reservations about Bianchi’s ability. I think the main problem is that he REALLY didn’t impress the team with his performances in FP1 last year: he was generally over a second slower than Di Resta and Hulkenberg! (That’s not to say that he won’t improve of course…)

      Perhaps one possible outcome is that Sutil will be Force India’s third driver, ready to take over from Bianchi if he doesn’t perform over the first half of the season? (A few FP1 sessions might also be a good way of getting Sutil back in to the sport?)

  3. I thought Bianchi’s twitter campaign would definitely make him a shoe-in for the seat! #Bianchindia

  4. I’m surprised that Sutil is still in the running for the seat. He must have done well in his year away from the sport to secure enough backing to keep him in contention this long. I assume that Bianchi hasn’t gotten the drive yet because Force India is seeking Ferrari engines cheaper than Ferrari are willing to supply, merely for the sake of Bianchi.

    I’m still hoping Bianchi will get the second seat, because I find it more interesting to see what he can do compared to round two of Sutil – DiResta. However, with the trouble Mallya and Sahara find themselves in currently, I will settle for any Force India presence on the grid this and coming seasons.

    1. I’m thinking…. why not both?
      Force India can hire both, give ’em 4 races apart, and they can show who the best to continue in remaining races. If team need more money, Narain could be given one-off. These things worked in the past, I guess. Since they got reliable point scorer in Di Resta (not exceptional though), honestly it could be working good, assuming the seat bidders have same quality.
      Team got money and probably engine deal. Yeah, it could be complex with development issue but let Di Resta focus on that. Although it obviously will be unpopular among the inside engineers, I don’t see why it can’t work.

      1. Yeah..Liuzzi-Klien style(RB1, 2005) you mean?
        In my opinion they should’ve sacked the uninspiring Scot and appointed both Sutil and Bianchi.

  5. I hope it’s gonna be Narain. Gotta annoy Vettel more often!
    jk :D

    1. I’m hoping it’s not for exactly that reason!

    2. …joking aside though I would be disappointed if they employed Karthikeyan, that’s about all he’s achieved in his career @adityafakhri!

      1. @vettel1
        I wouldn’t waste any breath on Khartikeyan. There is no way on earth that he’ll be getting this drive. That was a complete nonsense story.

        1. @mhop – absolutely, it was started by an Indian newspaper I believe surprise surprise!

  6. I want Bianchi for the remaining seat.

  7. Never really liked the guy; though he was at least a competent driver.

    The memorable things I remember him for were the Trulli spat in Brazill 2009 & spending more time off the track than on it in Korea 2010.

    I too would probably be on Team Bianchi.

    1. well you must not watch that many races then! Sutil is a fantastic driver and very very quick. Qualified in the top ten alot of occasions and scored a majority of the points for force India, when we finished ahead of the williams and saubers.

      Dont really get why people want Bianchi in the team. The guy is not very good. Force india have allowed him to driver in the third practices at most of the races last season and he shown nothing!!

      Sutil will be the best pick for Force India, welcome back!!!!!

  8. I truly hope that Sutil returns, that would probably be the best news during the whole off-season for me. I’ve always believed that Sutil deserves to be in F1 on merit, that we haven’t seen the best of him yet and that a suspended jail sentence shouldn’t be the reason to keep anyone away from F1. Let’s remember that he was voted the Driver of the Weekend after the last GP he participated at and I’m sure we are going to see him at least in top three of these polls again this season if he returns.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve always rated Sutil very highly and feel he was dropped from F1 just as he was reaching his peak, he easily deserves a seat on merit. I like Bianchi too, and would feel for him if he doesn’t get the seat, but sticking to their original plan and giving him another year as third driver, introducing him alongside Sutil in Ferrari powered Force India’s for 2014 would be fantastic.

      I so hope that comes to fruition :D

      1. +1. Sutil was always fun to watch. I too believe he is a talented driver. He really pulled FI into the midfield. I am a big Ferrari guy, but Bianchi is young. He will get his shot eventually. Sutil is exactly what Force India need to move up the grid. Besides, I think Adrian got a raw deal, loosing his seat because of a barroom mishap. If i had that same thing happen to me, would people not want me to do my job?? I think it wouuldn’t matter for me, so why for him. Sometimes PR is wrong.

    2. +1 from me, he was getting improving season on season.

      1. I really should have read that through before I posted

    3. Completely agree with you. Its sad to see a night out in a club ended up in Sutil being off the grid. He was amongst the best mid field drivers in 2009, 2010 and definitely in 2011. He beat his highly rated teammate pretty convincingly in the 2nd half of the 2011 season. He was fast and talented although the results never really flattered him.

      I would be glad if he was on the grid in 2013. A bar room brawl shoudn’t change the fact that he was putting in strong performances at the end of his career… and that he was very worthy of being on the f1 grid.

      Bianchi can wait a year .. but Sutil deserves at least one more season in the sport.

  9. If you’re only as good as your last race, then he’s pretty good – but, for me, not as good as Hulkenberg or even the guys who are out of F1 like Glock, Kovalainen and Kobayashi. I thought he only seemed to raise his game when his drive was under threat.
    Probably just about deserves a second chance at F1, but he (and Force India) would do better if it was with another team.

    Bring on Bianchi – we need some talent from Renault 3.5, to go up against all these drivers who didn’t win GP2 and their rich daddies.

    1. WSR GO!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. Bianchi has actually spent more time in GP2 than WSR 3.5

  10. I want the better driver ( which is Sutil ) take the seat. In my opinion, Sutil is the best gp driver who is not racing in F1 today. He demolished Di Resta in their year together and it is just not faiir that he, and not the Scot, had to pack.
    On the other hand , if, for the second year in a row, Paul will be beaten by a driver returning after a year long hiatus, his career might be over.

    1. he demolished Di Resta in their year together

      @cristian define “demolished”. Di Resta, coming from Touring Cars in his first year, gave Sutil, (almost a veteran, within the team since 2007) something to think about. And in the latter part of the season they were split in strategies, so the points haul doesn’t define it…

      1. I might have exaggerated with that term, but there was an obvious difference between their performances throughout the year, and it was in SUtil’s favor.

      2. Split strategies seemed to be his excuse for being outscored in 2012 as well…

    2. He stabbed a man in the neck (allegedly). Keeping him was a liability ahead of 2012 because he could have suddenly found himself in prison.

      1. He stabbed a man in the neck (allegedly)

        given that he was sentenced for that in court, I’d say we can drop the “allegedly” from that.

          1. i do not think we ever heard the whole story, it seemed very bizarre the whole story leading up to his sentencing, and it seemed almost like a witch hunt against sutil. i would like to see the glassing recipients wounds, and also there was provocation involved. michael schumacher got another shot in f1 after crashing into a driver on purpose, so why shouldnt sutil get another shot at f1 for something that was outside of the racetrack?
            He was driving the force india brilliantly, at least as well as rosberg has been driving the mercedes.

  11. oh no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. That might be like Renault did in 2011. A choice (Heidfield) vs. a test driver (Senna) in testing.

  13. They’re gonna split’em. Bianchi drives first 6 races. Sutil drives the rest. More money for Force India that way.

  14. So, this confirms what i always suspected! This is going to be a shootout between Sutil and Bianchi! The one who posts the fastest time will get the seat!! Well, I am impressed by both, so may the fastest man win. And if Sutil seems to raise his game only when his drive is under threat, the so be it coz i am sure if Bianchi is not confirmed for 2013, he WILL be for 2014. Thats good enough threat for Sutil.

    1. @1abe

      Thats good enough threat for Sutil.

      And Di Resta.

      1. @kingshark
        The way i see it, Di Resta wont be with FI in 2014. Either he ll move out (unlikely) or he will be dropped (likely). For a guy, who talks about how he needs to perform in 2013 so he can move up the grid rather than move his team up the grid and at the same time dont want his new teammate to be ambitious, i dont think FI will take that as words of a team player! Moreover his performance in the last two year were, IMO, average, neither great nor poor.

  15. A pair of averages, then, if Sutil lands in the seat. As much as I hate Di Resta, I put him well above Sutil, who’s really hardly spectacular.

    And, to be honest, Force India sacked him for a reason… why put him back in again? specially after a whole year outside the tracks. And it’s not like there’s not much choices around him, is it?

    1. I think that one is easy to answer @fer-no65

      And, to be honest, Force India sacked him for a reason… why put him back in again?

      – the reason why they sacked him (giving Hulk a drive) has now left them for Sauber.

    2. I don’t think Sutil is average. Almost all of these guys are super talented. I think so many people see midfield drivers as average without taking into account they are driving machines that were built on 25% of less the budget of the front runners. Adrian’s last season with FI he was a consistent points hauler. I doubt Vettel or Alonso would be winners in the same machinery Sutil has had in his career. Although that would be really fun to watch. My dreamone off would be too swap the cars and drivers from front to back for a charity event. Seeing a Hamilton, Alonso, or Vettel in a backmarker while putting guys like Sutil, Pic, or Kartikain in one of the RBRs would be alot of fun. :)

      1. Except Fisichella was a nine tenths of a second away from winning in one of the cars Sutil drove in his career, and the WDC drivers like Alonso or Vettel have done more than “haul points” in midfield cars.

        Nevertheless, I agree that Sutil is a decent driver. Just because he may not be WDC material doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be on the grid. Bianchi hardly looks like the next big thing- he seems to have hung around the junior series for ages without anyone picking him up. He probably isn’t even the safe pair of hands we know Sutil is.

  16. I always found it strange that the reason Force India finally got shot of Sutil was because of criminal behaviour, rather than his criminal slowness.

    Taking him back would be a big mistake for a team that supposedly wants to move forward.

  17. I didn’t think Sutil deserved to lose his seat at the end of 2011, he did a solid job. He is a bit inconsistent and can occasionally be awful, but I’d take him over most of the rookies who have or want an F1 drive.

  18. Terrible news…. On the other hand… Bianchi might get to race when this convict can´t enter a country!

    Seriously…. this guy should´ve been discarded all together from F1…

  19. I think Sutil is ‘the’ best option left for Force India.They know him and he is familiar with the team as well.Something tells me he will be more eager to prove himself than he was before.Going for Bianchi is always a risk.With a feild so close than even last year,consistency can play a better part than shear speed.

  20. I hope Bianchi gets the seat. Sutil had many chances and he was mediocre at best.

  21. I don’t really see the benefit in bringing in Sutil who spent 5 years with the team & with the exception of 2-3 noteworthy performances was rather inconsistent & never did anything to see any other team show any interest in him.
    If Sutil was anything special then surely he would have been looked at by another team rather than been stuck in 1 mid-field/back of grid team for 5 years.

    Sutil had his chance at F1 & obviously didn’t impress enough to have anyone else show an interest in him, I think they should give someone else a shot.

  22. I’ve seen a few comments with people saying Bianchi isn’t that good, Have these people looked at his career stats?

    French Formula Renault Champion,
    Won F3 Masters at Zandvoort,
    F3 Euro Series Champion (Ahead of Bottas),
    3rd in GP2 championship as a rookie (Behind Maldonado & Perez),
    2nd in Renault world series championship as a rookie with 3 wins.
    Fastest on final day of F1 Jerez test.

    Kid clearly has some talent & is hardly useless like some are saying.

    1. I agree, I think Bianchi has a lot of speed. His consistency has been his weak point in the past few years, but as he matures he can improve that. Also, I think an upcoming driver should be mostly judged by his highs and not by his lows. So many things can go wrong in motor racing – mechanical failures, silly mistakes by yourself or someone else, problems with setting up the car – that you cannot see just by looking at the stats. For example, take a look at this excerpt from Keith’s biography on Bottas, on his GP3 season:

      Halfway through the season it seemed his move [to GP3] had not paid off. With eight races to go he was languishing in tenth in the championship. But after he and ART team mate James Calado got to the bottom of their car’s set-up problems the pair became championship frontrunners. Bottas won a race in each of the remaining four weekends and beat Calado to the title.

      If you were to judge Bottas on his first half season in GP3, you might think him an average midfielder, but from what he has shown since, many expect him to beat Maldonado this year. Back to Bianchi, I think he has often displayed a lot of speed, and even if it did not always result in championships, I would like to see what he can do in an F1 car.

    2. Those career stats mean nothing.
      Bas Leinders has a long list of wins but it didn’t mean a thing when he came in F1

  23. Sutil is definitely in the ‘had a chance, didn’t do enough, time to move on’ category for me.

    I’d far rather see Bianchi get a shot – his one-lap pace is excellent, he’s got more F1 mileage than your average rookie and he’s ready for the chance.

    I suspect Force India would rather give the seat to Bianchi, but commercial imperatives may push them towards Sutil. If Ferrari are trying to get Bianchi in the seat, then the news that Sutil is having a seat fitting may be the sign it’s time for them to put their final bid in. Time’s a-wastin’.

    1. If Ferrari are trying to get Bianchi in the seat, then the news that Sutil is having a seat fitting may be the sign it’s time for them to put their final bid in.

      – certainly one of the best reasons to have Sutil do a day of testing.

      I agree. Sutil was F1 capable, but he has been in the sport for several years. Has beaten some teammates, and others have beaten him. Di Resta beat him as a rookie. In the car that almost brought the team a win with Fisi his teammate Sutil was good, but missed too many chances. He has had his run, but ultimately there are better drivers around.

      Hard to tell with Bianchi, on the other hand it would be nice to see them give him a shot at it so we can finally see what’s in him.

    2. I’m surprised how many people are saying that Adrian Sutil’s ‘had his chance’ etc in F1. It strikes me as very harsh, after all at the point he lost his F1 seat he’d just finished P9 in the world drivers’ championship and was driving brilliantly. And Bianchi’s thought to be coming to Force India with cheap Ferrari engines, so I wouldn’t say Sutil necessarily has a commercial advantage in getting the drive. But I agree that today’s news on Sutil may be designed to make Ferrari jump…

    3. Di Resta beat him as a rookie.

      Sutil had a very slight edge over Di Resta when it comes down to actual results – 10-9 Sutil in qualifying, 10-6 Sutil in head-to-head race results, 42 points for Sutil to 27 for Di Resta, 9 points finishes for Sutil compared to 8 for Di Resta. Di Resta did have one more classified finish than Sutil (18-17), which highlights his strength as a very consistent, if unspectacular, driver.

      In addition, with the off-season turmoil surrounding SFI and its primary sponsors, Sutil could be a familiar, stabilizing force. I can see where this opportunity should be going to someone younger, and Bianchi looked pretty good in testing, not just in Jerez last week, but going back to last year when he began testing duty with the team. He’ll get his chance. But Sutil isn’t a bad choice, if he still has the pace and consistency to match PDR.

    4. gotta disagree with you guys on this one, Sutil getting a seat at Force India means they get the best of the 2013 crop (-Bottas)…better than all the other pay drivers coming in this year

  24. Did not count on it anymore, but this very nice news for me as a Sutil fan.

    I know this wont be mainstream reasoning, but a Dutchman (Im Dutch) AND Sutil in F1 makes it the best season in years for me, even before it started!!!

  25. Jules Bianchi deserve Force India seat and has done enough to prove it .Jules is a talented driver with a lot of potential ,Force India make a mistake if they choose Sutil

  26. While Sutil is a proven quantity for the team, I think di Resta has more than enough experience and maturity to lead the team and therefore I think they should take chance with Bianchi.

    Don’t get me wrong, Sutil has talent no question. However Bianchi has had sufficient testing and has knowledge of the team and 2013 car. Not to mention that Bianchi has been hyped numerous times by Ferrari so there must be something there for a team of Ferraris size to have faith in him.

    I’d personally take Bianchi. With Sutil you have a driver who can deliver the goods but not really set the world alight. Taking a chance with Bianchi could mean that Force India may potentially discover a good new talent plus get Ferrari engines for 2014.

  27. I’m thinking it will come down to a shootout between Sutil and Bianchi at the next test in Barcelona

  28. I think the guy deserves a fair second chance. He had a very good 2011 and that conviction really caused him more harm than it should have. I can’t believe the people calling him a criminal! Have none of these people ever had a one-off pub brawl, no matter how unfortunate or unwanted? Many have. Should everyone who’s had a brawl or fight be left without a job and called a criminal?
    I’d say try him out for the first few races, if he doesn’t do anything impressive, replace him with Bianchi. And put that clause in his contract, I’m sure he won’t say no to that.

  29. It’s so interesting the vastly differing opinions fans have on drivers. In my opinion, Sutil is another Heidfeld. I simply cannot understand why anyone would think either of those drivers is exciting or promising.

    Bianchi is 23 years old. He is on loan from Ferrari, is he not, and they are keen to get him into the second FI seat this or next year? So Ferrari are grooming him as a possible replacement for Massa when he is 25 or 26? It sounds a lot more exciting to me than bringing Sutil back in.

  30. I don’t think Force India have got a great driver in either Sutil or Bianchi to be honest. I would have much rather seen Kovalainen in that seat. I think losing him is the biggest disappointment in the off season for me :(

  31. Force India Twitter feed just confirmed that Sutil will be driving on Thursday and Jules will drive on Friday… we have a head to head shoot out for the drive be the looks of things.

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